My friend, Judy, has a list of things she never has to do again. Pumpkin carving is a recent addition. No more handfuls of stringy pungent pumpkin guts. No more extricating slimy seeds from tangled threads of orange flesh. She's going with the no-fuss-no-muss approach. Open box,unwind cord, plug it in and voila, instant jack-o-lantern. She doesn't even have to light a candle. Judy also has a life list of things she wants to accomplish before, well, before the "end."She just added Machu Picchu to that list. Climbing to the ancient village at an elevation of 7,970 ft sounds ambitious and thrilling.
I don't have lists like that. I have grocery lists, work-to-do lists, books to read lists and Christmas lists. No "big" picture lists. My goals are always more immediate: survive eight hours of work, figure out something for dinner, have gas in the car, get up early to write. I talk about more ambitious accomplishments, but I don't write them down. That makes things too real. If I write it down and don't follow through then I'd only have to create another list––things I thought I might do, but didn't do list.
Another friend, a much younger one, doesn't make life lists. She comes up with a goal and then dives headfirst into a pool of aversion therapy. She wants to lose weight but isn't interested in traditional approaches. No walking, no ignoring the large plastic bag of m&ms hidden in her bottom drawer. None of that for my young friend. Her plan is to buy clothes that are too big for her, in a size she desperately hopes never to wear, and hang them around the house. Somehow the sight of these gargantuan pants will cause the pounds to fly off. Maybe she and I should both reconsider the life list approach.
Started thinking about lists in the first place after I began reading a new book, Before I Die by Jenny Downham.Tessa has a to-do list with a critical time limit. She's young, dying and her to-do list (at least through Chapter 19)is filled with risky adult choices. My list would be tame by comparison. Just found a website devoted to life lists, 2Do Before I Die. Interesting entries--some are universal others definitely age-restricted...visiting a British pub at every stop on the Metro. I don't think so.
But one writer Andrea, age 26, has a to-do before I die goal I can relate to–get published! For two years I've had a newspaper snippet pinned up on my bulletin board. It's from a NY Times wedding announcement,"Her mother writes children's books." If I had a list, this would be in the top ten, definitely.